National Consultation on Food Systems Transformation Held

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) has organised the National Consultation on Food Systems Transformation meeting in Vientiane on Jun 2.

Mr Thatsaka Saphangthong, Director General of Planning and Cooperation, MAF, Mr. Nasar Hayat, FAO Country Representative to Laos, representatives of development partners, development banks, civil society organizations, private sector and farmers attended the meeting.

“The agriculture sector plays a key role in food systems, firstly because it supports the production of food. But agriculture also provides revenues and livelihoods to the majority of Lao people. Agriculture also sequestrates and emits carbon and preserves natural resources and life on earth depending on what choices are made by farmers, consumers and decision makers,” said Mr Thatsaka Saphangthong, Director General of Planning and Cooperation, MAF.

“But agriculture is not alone here and the dialogue about food systems needs to be extended to other sectors. For example, the trade sector buys imports and exports food, organizes food markets and plays key roles in the processing and marketing of agri-food products. As such it is critical to this agenda,” Mr Thatsaka Saphangthong explained.

“We are also happy to have representatives of the civil society, farmers and community based organizations because their valuable work at grassroots level has the potential to inform our policy decision and improve Lao people livelihoods. This is also true for the research and academic sectors which contribute innovation and inform our decision and vision ensuring that food system transformation addresses the socio-economic and environmental challenges we are all facing now,” he added.

“Two years ago, all partners and stakeholders engaged in agri-food systems in the Lao PDR participated in a National Dialogue of Food System leading to the formulation of a National Pathway to Food system transformation,” said Mr. Nasar Hayat, FAO Country Representative to Laos.

“During the past few months, the FAO supported the MAF to identify enabling factors and priorities to initiate a deep and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems. This work has involved numerous Ministries and development partners and focused on processes to strengthen the engagement of people and organisations in this work,” said Mr. Nasar Hayat.

He assured the participants that this agenda is considered as a top priority by FAO Secretary General and Director General who will host a high-level global stock taking moment in July 2023 to review progress and renew their support to countries.

“I would like to renew the FAO and whole UN country team’s commitment to support the government and people of the Lao PDR working on sustainable food system transformation, now and in the long term, in line with our cooperation framework and the Lao PDR policy agenda and national priorities,” he added.

Source: Lao News Agency

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